Recession leads to rebirth of the family business

I’ve been aware of several colleagues who run their own small businesses, and are taking on their own children to work with them in their businesses.

There is one simple imperative for this – the young people stand little chance of getting a job anywhere else! Thanks to the recession, it appears that a job search is a long, lonely process. And you can hardly blame employers deluged with CVs for using all manner of tactics to come up with a shortlist from the hundreds of appropriately qualified applicants. Which means they are less likely to choose the perfect person for the job.

And it’s tough out there. One neighbour of mine has a daughter who has recently completed a History of Art degree at Manchester University. She would like to work in advertising, but the only work she has in her diary over the coming months is a couple of fortnight-long stints – unpaid – of work experience at London agencies. And part-time stints in the village pub, pulling pints.

In these circumstances, the best approach for many young people must be to drop their aspirations from that dream job with a big PLC, and focus instead on the local networks which they and their family are naturally members of, and ask around for opportunities. There are plenty of smaller businesses doing well, and needing help as they expand – they just don’t make the news.

Are we about to witness the return to prominence of Smith & Son, or (much rarer) Jones & Daughter – a brand genre that seems to have largely fallen out of favour?


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